Sun Yukun, a second-year student at the China Agricultural University and leader of the university’s student Science Trip team, left Beijing for Tibet on July 24 with 15 other members. The Tibet field trip project has been the university Science Trip’s tradition for 14 years. For the past few months, Sun has organized high-intensity physical training and special research seminars to prepare for this annual event. After 40 hours of sitting on a train, members then take local vans to some of the most remote areas in the region.

Sun’s team represents a trend in China’s basic science and tech landscape: by organizing student-led projects, Chinese undergraduate students are spontaneously approaching a career in science and technology amid a tough domestic research environment. Their efforts are gradually paving the way for commercialized research in China, but they still need systematic support to be powerful enough to produce tangible innovations and breakthroughs.

“Our science club is for cross-disciplinary field trips and research. It’s about knowing the ecosystem and needs of everything there, including plants, animals, healthcare, cultural heritage, economy, and development. We now have a very diverse portfolio of members, with majors ranging from engineering to nutrition,” Sun told TechNode.

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Runhua Zhao

Runhua Zhao is a technology reporter based in Beijing. Connect with her via email: runhuazhao@technode.com